Secret to Clutter-Free? The Organization Queen Speaks


clutterThere's only one thing you need to know to banish clutter forever. No, it’s not that tiny fairies that come out at night to plant money trees, cobble your shoes, and clean up the day’s mess.

It’s not an endless supply of child labor. It’s not harsh rules and complex systems of organization. It’s not ClosetMaid or California Closets or $150 per hour professional life organizers.

All you need to know to magically clear all the clutter and mess from your house?

Get rid of it.

That’s it! Just get rid of it. Say it with me ... Get rid of it, ruthlessly and without sentimentality.

Avoiding clutter doesn’t have to be hard or painful. It’s really easy. Decide you aren’t going to tolerate it anymore. Pass the message on to everyone in the family.

Then act.

Don’t make it into a big production. You have three choices: put it away, donate it, or throw it out.

All the catalogs you’ve been saving to go through? Recycle them. Now. You don’t need them and you sure don’t need them in that pile that starts on the kitchen table then moves to the desk and back again. Every day when you bring the mail it, cull ruthlessly. Bills to be paid go in your desk, personal mail goes to the recipient, everything else gets recycled. Don’t even let it in the house.

The closet mess? Clothes either get put away, in the laundry, or donated. Same with toys and books, DVDs, and video games. Follow that old rule: if you haven’t used it in a year, get rid of it. (I actually shorten that. Unless something is a collectible, if I haven’t used it in six months, it gets donated.)

Junk drawers in the kitchen? I bet if you dumped yours in the trash, you would never ever miss a single thing. The instant you feel tempted to sweep something into that drawer, sweep it into either the garbage or the place it really belongs. You’ll find it will take you about a minute to put something where it belongs, instead of that drawer -- or pile, or wherever.

Garage and attic? Don’t even think about it. Cars, bikes, and lawnmowers go in garages, not endless boxes of crap. Christmas decorations go in the attic, not box after box of the winter clothes you brought with you when you moved to Florida from Chicago. The box of tchotchkes Great Aunt Flo gave you just before she died? Come on. You know you don’t need or want those. Get rid of them, and keep the memories instead.

Start getting rid of your clutter however you can. You’ll be surprised at how addictive it is. Before you know it, your house will be decluttered, clean and you’ll be able to maintain it.


Image via Blind Grasshopper/Flickr

chores, clutter buster


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Agreed.  I am pretty big on getting rid of things and not letting clutter accumulate,  because that is how it gets out of control.  Donating,  yard sales,  recycle,  freecycle,  whatever you need to do.

Lynette Lynette

lol, sounds like what my hubby wants to do.  I'm almost there.

RanaA... RanaAurora

Screw you, Megan! I'm in denial. I saw, "Get rid of it," and said NOOOOOOOO! ;)


But after seeing the crazy hoarder lady up the street get her house condemned by the health department, and preparing to move, I've got to get over it a little.

Carey... Carey2006

This is quite timely for I prepare to move back to Pittsburgh & back to apartment living....I drastically need to down size and organize. I'm very sentimental and it's going to be quite painful.....I have a number of what I call landmine boxes....boxes I haven't touched in almost 5 years since my gram died....*pray for me*,  I'll need all the strength I can get to make it thru this...I know our life will be so much better decluttered.

moder... modernmom2010

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! I'm forwarding this to my mother! lol

MomIWant MomIWant

I'm a tosser.  I was raised by the Queen of Clean who told me over and over and over that a cluttered home is a cluttered mind.  I had the hardest time convincing my husband that the memories do not go away when you get rid of the material item.  We've been married 20 years, I am optimistic in the next 20, I will bring him over to the "get rid of it" side! :)

Megan... MeganVanSchaick

Rana, just do it! Once you start, it's so addictive. (Incidentally, I only just got my start a few moves ago, when I was leaving behind a house and lots of bad memories - I got rid of more than HALF my stuff!)

Megan... MeganVanSchaick

Oh, Carey, I don't envy your task! Everything will evoke a memory - but remember they are just things. If you can stand to, take photos of some things, and scan the paper materials. Just one way you can "keep" things without actually keeping them. And just remember - there is a lot of catharsis in sorting those things. In the end, you may find that you release the pain, just as you release the things.

newsa... newsahm27

I am basically a "recovering hoarder"! So this article really hit home for me!  Does anyone have any tips on how to simply let the stuff go and not try to keep too much stuff! Its so hard for me but I hate being that way! I really WANT to be able to let the "Stuff" go!  I have noticed its very freeing when I actually can do it!

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